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10 September 2017

North West Road Relays Report

North West Road Relays 9th September 2017


Against the odds Stanley Park Blackpool once again managed to provide blazing sunshine for the first road relays of the autumn season.  Last year the senior Men’s and Women’s teams both won gold in the Greater Manchester competition, with the Men second overall and the Women third.  The teams were similar this year and so targets were high. 


The Senior Women and U17 Men began together.  Vicki Cronin for the A team was quickly battling it out with Sinead Bent of Salford at the front of the field.  As usual Sinead tried leading, but sensing a chance Vicki took the helm and slowing edged away.  By the end of the 3.2 miles Vicki had built up a 30 second lead.  Her time is currently down as 7th quickest of the day, but as you will read this should probably be at least 5th fastest.  Not so far behind in the B squad Sarah Hudak made a very positive return to racing as she attempts to overcome an achilles injury.  After a rapid 3000m last weekend, Rachel McDonnell stepped up in distance with confidence for the C team. 


For the A team Amy Cauley was now up against Beth Barlow of Salford.  Amy judged her run to perfection.  She was caught by Beth but managed to keep her in touching distance.  She then finished strongly to regain first place.  At this stage a right farce was occurring in the directing of runners.  They were converging on the Park’s central circle from three different directions!  Indeed, Mel Monks running second for the B team ended up (through no fault of her own) ahead of Amy.  Meanwhile, Ruth put in a shift on the C team’s second leg and seems well on course to better her cross-country results of last season. 


Despite the bedlam, Alison Drasdo kept her cool and managed to win her own battle with Salford, bringing the team home in 2nd overall behind Liverpool who had a very strong final leg and first Greater Manchester team!  Nicole Davenport had the glory leg for the B team who finished 11th overall (4th Greater Manchester) and Ciara Lydon brought the C team home in 32nd.  The D team comprised Sue, Siobhan and Louise.  It is brilliant to see such a great turnout from the women, and fantastic that they managed to retain the Greater Manchester title.



The senior men were given a lead bike, however even this managed to take an early turn!  Nevertheless, the mistake was equal across all first leg runners.  Andile was first for the A team and up against Andy Benson of Preston.  The two of them shared the lead and although Andile’s time was fourth quickest of the day, he was just outsprinted in the last 300, passing onto Matt Sutton in second.  For the B team, Tony Davenport who just missed a 10km PB by 2s the weekend before ran well, placing 51st of 85 first leg runners.  Jeff Prest running in a one-man team had a stormer, finishing 15th.


On the second leg In the B team Mikey Kingston made a very decent transition from his preferred 800m to the longer distance, bringing the B team to 21st.  In the A, Matt was swallowed up by a competitive group of second leg runners.  Although maintaining good form and running a respectable time he passed onto Mac O’Malley in 8th.  Mac ran very well, he looks in top form ahead of his move to Birmingham University this September.  Simon did okay but it was frustrating losing a place to Liverpool as per the year before.  The A team was similar in strength to last year's, but it so happened several other teams decided to field strong runners this year (perhaps it was the draw of the renowned Blackpool rock).  The A's finished 9th overall and 4th in Greater Manchester.  Over in the B team Greg Kelly ran his first road relay for Trafford and looked swift on his third leg, passing over in 28th.  Coming back from plantar fasciitis and a deluge of weddings, Graham Hogg looked tired though satisfied after his fourth leg.  Hopefully his return to racing continues without hitches.  The B team were 36th overall and 10th in Greater Manchester.


The march continues onto the Northern 6 stage next Saturday at Sportcity!


Simon O’Meara                        

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